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'Everybody' trying to get in $20 billion lingerie business

Published: Friday July 14, 2006

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Many retailers are setting their sights on the $20 billion lingerie business, according to an article set for Saturday's edition of The New York Times, RAW STORY has found.

"Victoria's Secret revolutionized the underwear business, turning formerly naughty inner wear into acceptable outwear," writes Michael Barbaro. On any given morning, undergraduates at colleges across the country show up to class wearing boxers (or "boyfriend briefs," as designers call them) and their adult counterparts slip on camisoles for work."

"Now other retailers want a piece of the intimate apparel action, and a token intimate department will not suffice," the article continues.

"This fall, teen clothing chain American Eagle Outfitters will launch a new standalone store called Aerie, a celebration of underwear for the teen set; Bloomingdale's is redesigning its intimate departments, carrying pricier designer brands and putting specially trained concierges in the dressing room to make it easier to try on bras; and Chico's, which two years ago created a store called Soma focused on intimates, has said it will double its store base over the next year because of strong sales," Barbaro writes.

Excerpts from the article:


“Everybody is trying to get into this,” said Gabrielle Kivitz, a retail analyst at Deutsche Bank Securities. “They see room for more players.”

The rush has led to an undergarment boomlet. So far, the roster includes American Eagle Outfitters, Chico’s FAS, Bloomingdale’s and Gap.


Gap has sold undergarments for years but the new president of Gap Body, John T. Wyatt, said the chain was now rethinking what it carried and how it was presented. Beginning this week, stores that carry Gap Body products will display bras by their “solution,” like those to be worn under a T-shirt or a backless dress.

Mr. Wyatt said Gap’s undergarment business was vital because when women find the right T-shirt bra or ultra low stretch bikini underwear, they stick with it — and the retailer who sold it.



(NOTE: An earlier version of this story focused on retailers reaching out to the teen market, however the final Times article didn't reflect that the advance version of the story received before publication)